Pilgrim's Pride chicken exports returning to Russia

by Bryan Salvage
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GREELEY, Colo. – Pilgrim's Pride Corporation has received formal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) to resume exporting chicken products to Russia. U.S.D.A. approved exports to Russia from Pilgrim's processing facilities in Boaz, Ala., Russellville, Ala., and Dallas, Texas, the company said.

Its Alabama plants already have begun packing product for Russia and company officials said they expect to resume shipments shortly. The Dallas plant will resume production today.

Russian officials signed a formal poultry agreement with the U.S. earlier this month outlining new processing requirements for domestic chicken that is to be exported to Russia. Earlier this year, Russia had banned all U.S. chicken that had been processed with chlorinated water.

U.S. chicken companies can replace the chlorinated rinse with cetylpyridinium chloride, peroxyacetic acid or hydrogen peroxide under the new requirements approved last week. Earlier this year, Pilgrim's plants in Boaz and Russellville were converted to peroxyacetic acid.

A new approved list for Russia sent to the Russian government last Friday based on the Russian-approved list that was in effect Dec. 31, 2009, has been compiled by the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.). Once companies appear on the new F.S.I.S. list, they are immediately eligible to begin shipping to Russia.

"We are pleased that the new agreement is in place and we look forward to resuming export shipments to Russia as soon as possible," said Don Jackson, Pilgrim's Pride president and chief executive. "Russia is an important export market for U.S. chicken and the re-opening of the borders will be a significant benefit to our company and industry."
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